Roasted Salsa Verde
Salsa is the most widely known condiment of Mexican food. Originating with the Inca people, salsas blend tomatoes, chilies and herbs and spices into sauces used as a key component to many dishes and as a finishing sauce and condiment.
The majority of salsas commercially available are of the rojo variety which are tomato based and range in spice level based on the accompaniment of chiles of different heat levels.
An often underutilized variation is salsa verde or green salsa. Verde is made using tomatillos instead of tomatoes.
Tomatillos are also in the nightshade family but they contain less moisture, are more acidic and less sweet when consumed raw. These smaller fruits grow inside a husk and are coated in a sticky substance called withanolide which you’ll definitely notice when prepping them. The combination of the husk and withanolide helps protect the tomatillo from insect infestation during its grow cycle.
There are a number of ways you can use tomatillos. They can be blended raw or stewed or roasted. When consumed raw, they are lend a very bright flavor and when cooked, the flavor profile changes and they become a bit sweeter.
Tomatillos are rich in vitamins and like other fruits and vegetables, are part of a heart healthy diet.
In this application. we will be cleaning these husked little gems and roasting them along with other vegetables before blending with lime, garlic and cilantro. This sauce is not just a condiment although it’s great with chips or on tacos and burritos. You can also use it as an enchilada sauce and as a base to stew meats and fish.
We will also be roasting poblano and jalapeno peppers for this recipe but you can feel free to use a different blend. If you prefer a milder salsa, feel free to use half green pepper and half poblano and you can adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeno you’d like to use. Always start with less with it comes to spicier pepper varieties and add to the sauce for more heat.
Don’t be alarmed by the volume of ingredients in my photo. I made a huge batch of this using 15 pounds of husked tomatillo which yielded nearly 2 gallons of salsa.
The following recipe is for consumer use and will yield you about a quart (4 cups) of sauce.
- 2 pounds tomatillos (husked, rinsed and halved)
- 1 head of garlic cloves
- 1-2 jalapeno (halved, seeded)
- 3-4 poblano or green peppers (whole)
- 2 onions (peeled, quartered)
- 1-2 bunches cilantro
- 2 limes (zest and juice)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Set your oven to 425 degrees
On a large rimmed baking sheet, add your tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, poblano or green peppers and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and peppers. Make sure to give it all a good mix and be sure all the vegetables are coated. Add more oil if needed.
Roast in the oven until you notice the onions are beginning to char and the vegetables become soft. This can take 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the vegetables to cool so you can handle.
Pluck the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds.
Using a blender or hand blender, work in batches, if necessary. Don’t fill your blender too far to reduce the chance of splatter.
Blend the vegetables and use the liquid on the sheet tray from roasting to help get the mixture going. Add the lime juice and cilantro. Once fully blended, you can pour in a large bowl or small sauce pot. Add the lime zest and taste the sauce.
Adjust the flavor by adding more salt or lime juice and if you roasted a few extra jalapenos and would like a spicier salsa, blend these using a bit of the finished sauce and add back to your bowl or sauce pot.
Tasting the product is the key here as there is a wide range in terms of acid, spice and salt. When you’re satisfied with the salsa, let it cool to further meld the flavors.